Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 13, 2016

UT Court of Appeals Holds Ordinance Did Not Violate City Land Management Code

Valley of Love owns three adjacent parcels of real property on Empire Avenue in Park City, Utah. The two smaller parcels, consisting of 2,221 and 1,676 square feet, border Empire Avenue. The large parcel, consisting of 8,985 square feet, is landlocked behind the two small parcels. The parcels are located in a recreation commercial zone, which allows developments to have a maximum density ratio of 1.0. In 2009, Valley of Love sought approval of a proposed ordinance to combine the three parcels, which had not yet been subdivided3 for development, into a single platted lot of record. Park City approved Valley of Love’s proposal and enacted Ordinance 10–08, subdividing the three parcels into a single lot. Appellants, who owned property near the parcels, challenged Ordinance 10–08 in district court, asserting that Park City violated various provisions of the Park City Land Management Code (LMC) by adopting the ordinance. On appeal, Appellants challenged the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Park City Municipal Corporation and Valley of Love LLC.

Appellants asserted that the district court erred in concluding that Park City’s adoption of Ordinance 10–08 did not conflict with the LMC. Appellants also argued that because setback requirements would have made the front two parcels unbuildable had they been subdivided into individual lots, the lot requirements had the effect of forever limiting the total buildable square footage on the three parcels to the amount allowed on the large parcel: 8,985 square feet. The court found that the setback requirements only indirectly affected the buildable square footage on a lot due to the impossibility of building a structure on a narrow lot while complying with the setback requirements, since those requirements did not actually alter the density allowance for the lot.

Appellants next argued that the increase in the potential buildable square footage of the three parcels created by Ordinance 10–08 violated the purposes of the LMC to prevent overcrowding and allow circulation of traffic. The court rejected this argument, noting that while the setback requirements might have resulted in an overall lower density if the parcels had been subdivided differently, this did not change the fact that the LMC allowed for a 1.0 density ratio. Moreover, the potential overcrowding or traffic problem that Valley of Love’s multi-unit dwelling posed was addressed in the process of approving the conditional use permit, and was not challenged in the district court.

Accordingly, since Park City did not violate any provision of the LMC or the General Plan in enacting Ordinance 10–08, the court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellees.

Olsen v Park City Municipal Corp., 374 P. 3d 52 (UT App. 5/19/2016)

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